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Actors Touring Company inquiry is far from having ‘fizzled out’ (your views, April 12)

Director Ramin Gray Director Ramin Gray
by -

As the board of Actors Touring Company, we write in response to last week’s Editor’s View (‘Employers need to better handle harassment’, April 5).

The board of Actors Touring Company has been working in close collaboration with the Independent Theatre Council to ensure a full and thorough process, following complaints received relating to artistic director Ramin Gray.

Far from “fizzling out”, it has been and remains at the forefront of the board’s mind and at the centre of its activity.

Actors Touring Company under fire for handling of Ramin Gray harassment investigation

This issue is of critical importance to ATC’s board, and we are currently very much engaged in seeing it through.

ITC continues to advise the board and has worked with ATC to keep both Equity (which has been liaising directly with its members) and Arts Council England fully informed throughout.

Arts organisations, like all employers across every sector, are obliged to ensure that, when allegations of any sort are raised, due process is followed. This is essential to ensure fairness to everyone involved, including the complainants.

That process can, and in this case does, involve more than one stage. It is a simple fact that this takes time. Hurrying it could compromise the process, as could making premature comment. It risks an ineffective and unfair outcome.

Until the process is complete, we ask for understanding that it is simply not possible to comment further at this time.

Actors Touring Company board
Email address supplied

Tickets prices not justified

The Long Read on the breakdown of costs behind theatre productions by Richard Howle (‘Think West End tickets are overpriced? Think again’, March 29) is quite a possible and almost plausible argument for all of the shows that haven’t recouped their costs and are into the West End on a wing and a prayer.

Think West End tickets are overpriced? Why a breakdown of the costs proves they’re not a rip-off

But what of the shows that – over decades – have fully recouped, where the theatre owners are quite often a producer-investor in the production and they bring into their recovery pots the contras and add-ons: programmes, drinks, snacks and not forgetting the theatre restoration levies.

When discussing overpricing, you don’t touch upon the poor size and quality of the seating and the awful sight lines of many West End theatres – not to mention the loos.

All too many of the West End theatres are just not fit for purpose and it remains to be seen just how long the theatregoing public who are not part of a theatre group – and can therefore benefit from substantial ticket discounts – will be prepared to pay such high prices.

Many of the people paying over the odds for tickets to West End shows are praying that high-quality regional theatres and the productions presented, which never get a sniff of a London presentation, can do some good deals with NT Live.

Trevor Chenery
Via the stage.co.uk

 

Thousands of dedicated theatregoers like myself (I have been attending theatre productions for more than 50 years now) who live in the provinces (I’m from Chichester), and on limited incomes, cannot possibly afford West End theatre.

There are some glaring omissions to Richard Howle’s analysis:

1. The cheapest seats are up in the gods (the balcony).

2. We cannot all come up to London to queue at the Society of London Theatre ticket booth.

3. The insidious practice of ‘day seats’, which means getting up very early in the morning to queue for a ticket you might not even get.

I love the theatre to bits, but the industry – by accident or design – is alienating vast numbers of would-be theatregoers.

Fortunately, I can go to local theatres such as the Yvonne Arnaud in Guildford, Chichester Festival Theatre, and the Connaught Theatre in Worthing.

I do not accept that there is no profiteering by producers or theatre managers.

Jonathan Axworthy
Email supplied

 

The author of this piece states: “It is a truism that rather than reduce the price of band B seats, putting them up to band A makes them more likely to sell.”

Surely the bands ought to be fixed to reflect the view, proximity to the stage, etc? It seems like a cynical move to suggest seats are better than they really are in order to sell them to members of the public who are unaware of this switch. Shabby.

Cathy Fargher
Via the stage.co.uk

Theatres can’t be silenced

I write in response to your front page story about noise complaints harming the industry (‘Theatres ‘face closure in noise disputes’ ’, March 22).

If residential developers insist on ignoring the pre-existing noise risk factor, that is their choice. It’s not every week. What was there before the flats?

West End theatres ‘under threat from noise complaints’

What about other theatres in London that have flats in the rear access road, since they were built (such as those either side of the Waldorf Hotel, and nearby flats in Drury Lane)?

It is like building houses on a flood plain then, when it is flooded, the developer blames the council for not protecting the properties.

Under the council banner of improving the night-time economy, we now see complaints about nightclub noise every weekend from residents in newly developed office blocks in town centres.

Martin Lightfoot
Peterborough

Quotes of the week

Golda Rosheuvel. Photo: Leon Puplett/Young Vic
Golda Rosheuvel. Photo: Leon Puplett/Young Vic

“Some men have a terrible fear of women, particularly powerful women. They would prefer not to see change, and this Othello is part of change. I wanted to make a modern audience sit up and feel something of what a Jacobean audience must have felt at seeinga black man commanding an army.”
Actor Golda Rosheuvel on playing Othello at the Liverpool Everyman (Guardian)

“Poor Leo Wringer is miscast as the older Clerimont. There is no way he is a honking Hooray of the sort that has infested the muddier reaches of England’s shires for centuries. He is too cool, too mature, not chinless or daft or funny enough. Was Mr Wringer cast because he is black? If so, the RSC’s clunking approach to politically correct casting has again weakened its stage product. I suppose its managers are under pressure from the Arts Council to tick inclusiveness boxes, but at some point they are going to have to decide if their core business is drama or social engineering.”
Quentin Letts (Daily Mail)

“Critique someone’s performance. Yes. But not their colour. The great classical actors in our profession from Kean to Kinnear have been given carte blanche throughout their careers to play ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. To resent a black person in 2018 having the same right and to call it ‘social engineering’ is preposterous, mean and the word none of us like to admit we are… racist. There’s no dressing it up.”
Danny Lee Wynter (Twitter)

“Do you ask the same of white actors you don’t think are up to the job? Does the playwright specify the ethnicity? No. Don’t write reviews if you can’t handle a response – they are in dialogue with the company/play, not the last word.”
Derby Theatre artistic director Sarah Brigham (Twitter), in response to Quentin Letts

“If you are a young deaf or disabled person, the expectation of what you can achieve in your life goes to fucking zero. I’ve had to negotiate my whole life, and doing ballet saved me, being in a class where I followed the person in front. If I hadn’t had that ballet, I don’t quite know what I would have done, because school was so fucking horrendous.”
Artistic director of Graeae Theatre Jenny Sealey at the Almeida for Free Festival

“Being in this show is like being part of a vast train: if you don’t keep up you’ll get left behind. But it’s what I was born to do. My son will attest that I’ve hardly taken any time off. I’m a workaholic. Anything extreme is not healthy but it’s the way I am.”
Lulu on being in 42nd Street (Sunday Times)

Email your views to alistair@thestage.co.uk  | Please mark your email as ‘for publication’. The Stage reserves the right to edit letters for publication.

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